*FRIDAY PODIUM TRANSCRIPT: Week 1 vs. BENGALS
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement:"Good seeing everybody. I appreciate you being here. It's Friday – first Friday of the year, so we're working on that routine for the week and things like that. Good practice, and everybody is really looking forward to Sunday."
It's the 10th season opener for you. Some coaches get philosophical saying how it's a fresh start. Where do you fall into it? Do you get philosophical, or are you just excited it is football again? (Jamison Hensley)"That's something I can tell you I have not thought about for one second. It's a big game on Sunday, and all you think about is all the things that go into it. We have a lot to think about. [Cincinnati is] a very good opponent. Where are we at with our team, and what do we need to work on? That consumes you."
Do season openers have a different feeling than other games? (Jamison Hensley)"Season openers do have a different feel, because you really don't know where you're at. You put so much work into it, and there's so much work behind a football team – individual, group, on the team, coaching staff, in the organization, even the fans, all the effort, the media. There's a ton of work that goes into the opening game, and you really don't know where you're at until you play that first game. Once you play the first game, then it accelerates. Then the next game, they start coming fast. You're on a routine. It does seem like it takes a while to get to the first game, and for that reason, there's a lot of anticipation."
We talked to S Eric Weddle and DE Brent Urban this week, and they talked about how they've been working on the Cincinnati game plan for months. Is there ever a point where you think [the team] has the game plan down pat? Or do you work it all the way up until game time?* (Kevin Richardson)*"I think probably after the game, when you have to start looking at the next game plan, is the only time you feel like you have the game plan down pat. We'll keep working right up until game time on every game plan. There's always something to talk about and get ready for."
*Have you heard about or have you seen any planned celebrations now with the new rules in place? *(Ryan Mink) *"I have not. Celebrations are not one of the things that they share with me – for some reason. *(laughter) They're not asking me my permission, I can tell you that. *(laughter) *I just tell them, 'It better not be a penalty.' That's the rule."
QB Joe Flacco has been a full participant all week. How do you feel he's gotten through the week? (Jamison Hensley) "Joe has done well. He's been good and sharp. He looks like he always looks. I think he looks very good right now."
Everyone talks about the rivalry with the Steelers, but how contentious would you say the series has been with the Bengals? (Ed Lee) "I don't have a contentious meter going, but I appreciate where you are going with the question. These are big rivalry games, to your point. All three of these teams that we play in our division are big rivalry games for different reasons. But, they are all very intense. The crowds are always hyped up when you go play. Our crowd is always hyped up when they come in. That is true for the Steelers, the Browns and the Bengals – all three teams. We know each other. We know the schemes. We know the players. There is a lot of heat in all these games, and they are very important games, because they are division games. You are trying to win your division. I put them all in the same scale. They are all big."
It has been a while since the team has won in Cincinnati. Is that something you guys think about, too? (Ed Lee) "I don't think the guys think too much about that. I think they focus on playing this game, this Sunday, and try to find a way to win this one and be 1-0 this week."
Does it feel weird that you are not celebrating New Years in Cincinnati?* (Jamison Hensley)*"That is a good point. I'm going to stay away from that one, also, if I could. Thanks."
Hurricane Irma is heading toward Florida, and you have a couple of players from Florida. Have you talked to any of them about it? (Ed Lee)"I have not. I have talked to my sister. She is down there on the west side with her family – the Creans – Joani Crean and Tom and their family. They are kind of batting it down right now. We will see if they are going to move out of there or not. I know our players are dealing with that stuff, just like our players from Texas or Louisiana. Life keeps moving, right? We are praying for all of the people in the Caribbean and Cuba and Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands – and certainly Florida. It is coming up from Florida, too. I think we are all going to get a bunch of rain here. You just have to deal with it. I hope everybody is safe and makes good choices. I will say this, just for the record: I think we all know this, but two things: What J.J. Watt led and the people that responded to J.J.'s effort and all the people that give to all the great organizations out there … Just America. There is no country like America. We have one of our physical therapists [who is] from Australia, and he is amazed by the heart of Americans when these tragedies happen like this. We have our divisions, but when something happens like this and you see Americans pull together the way they do, to me, that is what speaks to the character of this country and to the flag and this type of thing. Kudos to those guys and J.J. for doing that for the NFL and for the people down there."